Beavers suffer through worst shooting game of season
One team wasn't used to shooting that poorly. The other team wasn't used to shooting that well from 3-point range.
Unfortunately for Buena Vista, they were the former.
Buena Vista suffered through its worst shooting game of the season playing on its home floor, and it knocked them out of the NCAA Division III Sweet Sixteen as Occidental College stunned the Beavers 67-62 in front of a capacity crowd at Siebens Fieldhouse on Friday.
Occidental, now 24-2, will play Gustavus Adolphus tonight at 7 p.m. for the right to advance to the Final Four.
All the statistics favored Buena Vista except two - field goal shooting and 3-point shooting. The Beavers made 25 of 65 field goals and were 2 of 21 from 3-point range. Eric Wiebers was just 2 of 11 from the arc.
Occidental made 27 of 50 shots for 54 percent, including 8 of 14 from 3-point range.
Buena Vista made more free throws, outrebounded the Tigers by 10 and committed only five turnovers.
"This is the first time we shot under 40 percent all year," Buena Vista coach Brian Van Haaften said. "It wasn't going in for us. We didn't get the shots to fall. We certainly had opportunities."
Buena Vista bolted to a 10-5 lead early in the game on a Wiebers 3-pointer. Moments later, Brandon Kies' basket kept the Beavers' lead at 21-16 with 9:13 to play.
It was 25-21 Buena Vista when Occidental made a charge. The Tigers scored seven consecutive points to go ahead 28-25 on a layup by Chase Young. Dallin Wilson then scored seven points and Song Cun added three points as the Tigers held a 39-32 lead. They led 39-34 at halftime.
"I thought we played poorly defensively in the first half," Van Haaften said. "We let them get shots, but they made some tough shots. They ran their offense real well and that's stuff that we don't see, so we struggled."
Wilson and Finn Rebassoo each hit a bucket to start the second half and give Occidental a 10-point lead, their biggest.
It was 48-39 Occidental when Buena Vista scored five straight points, cutting it to 48-44 on a basket by Michael Cameron. The Tigers pushed it back up to 63-54 on a basket by Gavin Keohane with 5:14 remaining.
Keohane hit several big shots for the Tigers down the stretch.
"That's just kind of my game," Keohane said. "I was just on today. I don't know what it was."
Buena Vista kept within striking distance as Chris Petersen made a basket and two free throws, and Cameron added a basket to cut it to 63-60 with 2:39 remaining.
Buena Vista could get no closer than that the rest of the way.
"Whenever we would get on a run, they would hit some big shots," Wiebers said.
"We just didn't have an answer for that," Van Haaften said. "We probably took too many threes. We should have got the ball inside more. Two of 21 shooting from the arc. That hasn't happened all year."
Occidental coach Brian Newhall said the Beavers were too much for his team inside.
"We shot exceptionally well from the 3-point arc," he said. "They were too big, too strong down low. The 3-point shot was a surprise. I thought if we shot 45 percent and neutralized their rebounding that we could have a chance."
Occidental's defense had something to do with Buena Vista's subpar shooting.
"They present real problems because they're spacing is excellent," Newhall said. "We chose to gamble off of number 33 (Casey Pelzer). It was a calculated risk, but they were getting too deep on us."
"We wanted to make a conscious effort on the weak side and not get pushed under the basket," Rebassoo said. "We just tried to hold our position and get low. It was a big challenge for us. The biggest challenge was that they passed so well at the post."
"They doubled down and we'd kick it out," Petersen said. "On a normal night, we make those shots from outside."
Five players scored in double figures for Buena Vista. Scott Weber and Kies each had 12, Cameron 11 and Wiebers and Petersen 10 apiece.
Petersen had 11 rebounds and Weber 10. Pelzer led in assists with five.
Keohane led Occidental with 21 points. Wilson added 15 and Cun 13.